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Salt Fics

The "salt fic" is essentially a catch-all term for Revenge/Accusation/Betrayal Fics. Many of these were inspired by "Chameleon", though they can cover a wider range of topics than that implies. There are so many of these that it's easy to pick out the the tropes they share.
    Lila-related plots 
  • Lila is typically depicted as the smuggest of snakes, ramping up her behavior to utterly ridiculous levels and meeting no resistance due to being a Bitch in Sheep's Clothing and Villain with Good Publicity. Her claims become even more outlandish than what Canon already provides, yet nobody in Mme. Bustier's class aside from any of Marinette's allies seems inclined to question anything she says.
    • To mitigate this, people outside of Mme. Bustier's class often see right through her, expressing incredulity at the notion that anyone could take her tall tales seriously. This includes other students at College Francoise Dupont.
  • Her Blatant Lies are often used against her by having others point out her Critical Research Failure. Particularly popular is having her claim that she can arrange for somebody to meet up with a famous figure who has passed away, or that she's the direct descendant of somebody who never had children.
  • In addition to smearing Marinette's good name, Lila may try the same tactics with Ladybug, especially if the heroine publicly denounces their supposed "friendship". This generally entails accusing Ladybug of being a Bitch in Sheep's Clothing, and claiming that they had a falling out over something unsavory Ladybug supposedly did.
  • One way of explaining her behavior (aside from simply labeling her a sociopath) is by having her sincerely believe that practically everyone is exactly the same as her. Everyone is Secretly Selfish Beneath the Mask; everyone has an angle, and the only ones who aren't are hopelessly naïve and the easiest of all to manipulate.
    • In keeping with this, she may be convinced that Marinette is just like her, and despises her because she's bringing an end to her own reign. Or perhaps Marinette falls into the "naïve" category, or is only just savvy enough to recognize her true nature, but not savvy enough to understand that "this is just how the world works".
  • Lila's "relationship" with Adrien may be endorsed by Gabriel himself, in exchange for her agreeing to spy upon his son for him and/or stir up more drama which he can exploit for akumas.
    • On the flip side of this, some writers have Gabriel show some scruples by deciding that his son's happiness and peace of mind matters is worth more than whatever Lila can offer him.
    • If Adrien isn't getting the Ron the Death Eater treatment, he often gets to play a big role in taking her down. Several stories feature him taking initiative and taking her down all by himself. Otherwise, he tends to passively endure her affections, remaining an Extreme Doormat.
  • Should Marinette have another Love Interest, Lila frequently pursues them for no reason other than to take away any source of joy she can. Said love interests typically No-Sell her efforts, much to her frustration.
  • She can delve into Politically Incorrect Villain, making snide comments about race, sexuality and the like. This tends to lead to her swift downfall in stories that depict the class as being inclusive, while in others, her influence instead encourages them to be just as cruelly biased.
    • Alternately, she can incorporate this into her Playing the Victim Card, setting others up to look like they're singling her out for such reasons.
  • Given her claims of being involved with various charities, one trend has her tricking classmates like Rose or Alya into donating money to whatever cause she's supposedly championing, only to pocket the money and spend it on herself.
  • If Marinette transfers to Mme. Mendeleiev's class or to another school entirely, Lila makes a point to gloat about her victory the next time they cross paths.
    • Depending on the Writer, she may go out of her way to continue harassing Marinette, or simply leave her be and bask in the fruits of her victory for as long as possible.
  • In Crossover works, Lila inevitably claims to have connections with high-profile people from the other source materials involved; for example, claiming that she's personally acquainted with Bruce Wayne, Lois Lane or Tony Stark.
  • Her mother may not be as high-ranking as Lila implies; a common alternative is that she works at the embassy as a secretary or some other, less impressive-sounding position.
    • Regardless of her precise position, Lila's mother is frequently depicted as a good, honest, hard-working woman who loves her daughter dearly and simply isn't aware of how deceptive, manipulative, and cruel she is.
    • Alternately, it may be revealed that one of the reasons they've had to move in the past had less to do with her job and more with Lila having pulled this before, with her mother having tried to give her daughter a clean break and a chance to start anew. She's never happy to learn that she simply continued her old tricks.
  • One trend is to introduce a friend of Lila's who pretends to be Ladybug herself. This usually comes with a side of Adrien salt with him immediately taking an interest in the new girl, falling hook, line and sinker for her claims — possibly even revealing to his supposed "partner" that he's Chat Noir! Said new girl quickly finds herself being targeted by Hawkmoth, with Ladybug saving the day and calling out everyone involved.
  • Another source for Original Characters are former victims who come back to haunt Lila, serving as prime akuma bait and coming after her guns blazing, eager for Revenge.
    • Some stories reveal that she previously drove somebody to take their own life after she ruined their reputation.
  • She's typically depicted as having no regrets or remorse regarding her actions whatsoever. The closest Lila is likely to come to expressing regret is over not being able to weedle even more out of her victims.
    • Another form of "remorse" is Lila lamenting that she wasn't aware of somebody's connections and couldn't take advantage of those. Particularly when it comes to Marinette, given her Canonical connections to figures like Jagged Stone and the tendency of Salt Fics to give her even more friends in high places.
  • If confronted by any of her angry classmates, especially when only a few of them are involved (and the full weight of consequences hasn't yet come crashing down on her head), Lila will often gloat about how she isn't responsible for everything they did to hurt Marinette, pointing out how easily they turned upon her. Variations of her proclaiming that she did Marinette a favor by exposing them as fair weather friends, Secretly Selfish, or able to act just like her under certain circumstances, crop up often.
    • Marinette herself often agrees with that assessment, declaring that the whole affair has taught her who her real friends are.
    • She may also directly call out Adrien's naivete, laughing at the very notion that he expected her to change just because he wanted her to.
  • Lila finally gets struck with some long-overdue Laser-Guided Karma, usually in the form of her lies being exposed. This naturally triggers a Villainous Breakdown, though it may be time-delayed — frequently, Lila expects that she'll get to skip town and start over somewhere else, only to learn that no, her days of escaping consequences are over.
    • Expect her fall from grace to happen when one of her classmates (often one of the quieter ones like Ivan) ends up Spotting the Thread and issuing a Wham Line Armor-Piercing Question that points out that she is contradicting herself. Eventually the entire facade crumbles like a jenga tower when the students all start to realize that the various lies she told them contradict each other and they go off like a powder keg.
    • Exposing her alliance with Hawkmoth and having her arrested for aiding and abetting a known terrorist is a popular outcome, either through footage surfacing of her chasing after or grabbing one of his butterflies, or by having her pull such a stunt in front of witnesses.
    • If Hawkmoth isn't going down at the same time, he's likely to pull a You Have Outlived Your Usefulness on her. If he is going down, he happily pulls a Taking You with Me by exposing her willing cooperation.
    • Facing libel charges is another popular punishment for both her and Alya, due to the latter providing a platform for her outrageous claims on the Ladyblog.
    • Similarly, nailing her for sexually harassing Adrien crops up a lot, especially in stories where he actually stands with Marinette rather than just silently standing by. He may, in fact, reveal the extent of the harassment himself, publicly denouncing her as his stalker.
    • Lila often attempts to claim Diplomatic Immunity, only to be informed that this has been revoked or never actually applied to her in the first place. The latter tends to come as a severe shock, with Lila having operated the whole time sincerely believing that she was protected by that.
      • Alternatively, she does have diplomatic immunity, but her mother is able to revoke it if she needs to.
    • Her mother is usually understandably furious with her, especially when her daughter's lies have an impact upon her position. For if they were doing all the things Lila claimed, that would be a massive misuse of government funds, leading to her mother getting hit with severe scrutiny.
  • While Lila often does end up leaving Paris, it's not the elegant dodging of consequences she expects, where nobody at her new destination is aware of her past and she can build herself up anew. Instead, she finds herself Put on a Bus to Hell, shipped out of Hawkmoth's reach so that he can't akumatize her anymore... provided that he even wants to.
    • Military School is a popular destination, when she's not being outright arrested or shipped straight to juvie.
    • Lila may find herself suddenly in the custody of extremely strict, no-nonsense relatives who effectively exist for the sole purpose of reassuring the audience that she will be utterly miserable in her new environment, cut off from everything she enjoyed and unable to weasel her way into their good graces.
  • Another popular form of Laser-Guided Karma is sticking Lila in a situation where she's expected to deliver upon her extravagant promises, in a way that she can't wiggle her way out. This frequently doubles as karma for the requester as well; their faith in her is rewarded with bitter disappointment, along with the belated realization that they would have been better off handling it themselves or asking somebody more reliable for help.
    • For bonus points, chances are high that the story will hammer home that Marinette could have assisted them instead. And may have done so before in the past, or was willing to help them, only to be rejected in favor of Lila's more attractive-sounding offers.
  • In stories where Marinette finds fame and fortune, Lila is usually shown regretting her past cruelty, wishing that she had recognized her potential sooner and buddied up to her instead. She may make a move anyway, only to be rebuffed.
  • Should Lila manage to evade consequences into adulthood, she may become a new superpowered villain, effectively replacing Hawkmoth.
    • Stories set in the future/during their adulthood often have Lila in a loveless marriage, having gotten together for money and status. This may be with Adrien himself, particularly in works that paint him as an Extreme Doormat or naively clinging to the belief that he can change her.

    Alya-related plots 
  • Alya frequently goes from being Marinette's best friend to Lila's Dragon, if not The Heavy amongst her devoted followers. Chances are high that if Lila isn't depicted as the one coming up with all the ideas about how to make Marinette miserable, Alya is more than happy to provide, using her insight as Mari's former friend to hurt her as much as possible.
  • Her villainization almost always comes with a heaping dose of Never My Fault in regards to her own wrongdoings. She frequently accuses Marinette of "tricking" her, convinced that she was a Bitch in Sheep's Clothing who used and manipulated her in the very way that Lila is currently using her.
  • Alya's declaration that "A good journalist always verifies their sources!" is often subjected to an Ironic or Meaningful Echo, frequently while it's being highlighted that she hasn't followed that creed.
  • The Ladyblog tends to go from a well-respected source for all things Ladybug to a trashy, barely-respected gossip column/tabloid, or a place for her to post hit pieces based on Lila's lies... or her own. The latter comes packaged with Moral Myopia; expect her to insist that she's championing the truth while filling her blog with Blatant Lies.
    • Other blogs are often introduced as alternative/superior sources of information. These may be run by one of Marinette's new friends, and are usually given a boost through official endorsement, with Ladybug openly condemning the Ladyblog.
    • Chances are high for Alya to have a Small Name, Big Ego attitude about her blog, touting it as the best of the best and dismissing the existence of other blogs... and lashing out at Ladybug for supposedly betraying her.
    • Lila may take advantage of this to ingratiate herself further with Alya by claiming that she has fought with Ladybug about this; that she disagreed with her and sides with the Ladyblog over her supposed friend.
  • Her tendency to put herself In Harm's Way for the sake of getting prime footage gets picked apart. Family and friends alike express discomfort over her rushing in, expecting Ladybug to save her, and this can lead to her parents attempting to forbid her from continuing the Ladyblog, temporarily or permanently.
  • In the wake of episodes like "Oblivio" and "Feast", Salt Fics increasingly depict Alya as somebody who refuses to consider the potential fallout of her actions, and who will gleefully expose a 'big scoop' like Ladybug's Secret Identity or other Miraculous-related secrets for the sake of boosting her blog's traffic.
    • Should she learn that Marinette is Ladybug, one of the first lines out of her mouth is almost always a demand to know why she never told her, complaining about her efforts to keep her in the dark.
  • If any of the class are presented as ungrateful or entitled jerks, chances are high that Alya will be the most entitled of them all. Expect her to cite her supposed status as Marinette's "bestie" as a reason for her to still get everything she wants from her, even after explicitly disowning and declaring that they were no longer friends.
    • A prime example of this sort of mentality: Alya pawning off her babysitting responsibilities onto Marinette, expecting her to look after the twins (and/or Nino's brother Chris) so she and Nino can go off on dates. Alya never compensates Marinette for this, pocketing any money for herself, leaving Marinette with all of the responsibility and none of the reward. Unsurprisingly, the parents are never pleased to learn of this.
  • This entitlement extends to the Fox Miraculous. Rena Rouge's "retirement" hits her hard, and she's often the most openly resentful of her replacement. This can lead to her exposing her own Secret Identity.
    • If Lila learns that Alya used to be Rena Rouge, she often claims that she had a falling out with Ladybug, and that Rena was either a victim of Revenge by Proxy or part of the reason she's no longer friends with Ladybug.
    • Alternately, Lila will sometimes claim that she was Rena Rouge, unaware that she's making that claim around people that would obviously know otherwise.
  • Her relationship with Nino is a common casualty of Salt Fics. Her boyfriend is commonly played as a Foil to her, proving far more likely to realize his mistakes and switch sides... which usually involves him breaking things off with Alya. This leads to her becoming a Woman Scorned.
    • This is often reflected in their reactions to their respective replacements. While Alya is typically furious over a new Fox appearing, Nino, while surprised and a bit hurt, tends to take it with more grace.
    • Another potential trigger for them breaking up is Lila claiming that he's cheating on her with someone else. This may be because Lila suspects he's starting to figure her out, but more often than not, happens for no real reason at all. Other than, perhaps, personal amusement, or demonstrating how Alya accepts her word at face value and refuses to look into things herself.
  • Chloé frequently serves as her Foil as well, especially in stories where they effectively switch places, with Chloé becoming one of Marinette's new friends. Whether she's befriended Marinette or not, Chloé often gets to taunt Alya about their similarities, complimenting her on her bullying tactics.
  • In Salt Fics focused on calling out Chat Noir's entitled behavior, Alya is frequently painted as a Shipper on Deck who supports the idea of them getting together, and is just as prone to ignoring Ladybug's feelings on the matter.
  • She tends to suffer the most Laser-Guided Karma aside from Lila, due to becoming her Dragon and eagerly harassing her former friend.
    • Losing the Ladyblog is a common consequence, with her parents grounding her and forbidding her from continuing. She may also find that the Ladyblog has gotten her into a lot of legal trouble due to what she's posted there.
    • Alya's prospects of becoming a real reporter are often dunked in the toilet alongside her reputation. Nadja or some other figure she admires frequently delivers the news that not only is she not getting a job/internship with them, she has been outright blacklisted due to her unprofessional behavior.
    • The more severe the consequences, the higher the chances of one attempting to throw the other under the bus and insist their "friend" was responsible for everything. Alya is just as likely to make that claim as Lila is; it's generally a matter of who starts crying foul first.
    • In Salt Fics that involve a Time Skip, with Lila having somehow dodged complete exposure in the intervening years, Alya is often shown to still be taking Lila's words as gospel truths, even if the rest of the class has wised up to her ways. This naturally pairs with Lila giving her incredibly poor advice that has ensured that Alya hasn't achieved much of anything of note over the years, disillusioned and blaming everyone else for her struggles.
  • Alya frequently proves to be prime butterfly bait in Salt Fics, especially when the inevitable consequences of her behavior come rolling in. She may even "pull a Lila" and actively go after a butterfly, wanting to be akumatized in order to "punish" those she believes have wronged her.
  • On rare occasions, Alya won't get the Ron the Death Eater treatment. This tends to have its own tropes attached to it.
    • Her sticking with Marinette almost always comes about because she finally decides to check her sources, which naturally leads to her learning that Lila was lying about everything. This will be followed by her having a My God, What Have I Done? moment and seeking to apologize to Marinette as soon as possible.
    • Another common trigger is the Ladyblog's reputation nosediving after she posts the interview with Lila, as her readers ravage her for providing a platform for such obvious lies.
    • She's often given a Vitriolic Best Buds relationship with a redeemed Chloé. This usually occurs because, while the two are working towards a common goal and bond over that, there's still a history of animosity between the two that won't just go away because of that.
    • Alya also commonly gets a taste of what it's like to be The Cassandra, having trouble convincing others that Lila is a Bitch in Sheep's Clothing. This usually folds into her apologizing for Marinette specifically about that, wondering how she dealt with knowing the truth but getting dismissed.
    • Naturally, the Ladyblog will remain the most popular source of all things Ladybug in these variants. If Marinette befriends any other superheroes, Alya will likely get an interview with them for the blog. She might also use it to arrange an Engineered Public Confession in regards to Lila's manipulations, Chat Noir's entitled behavior, or someone else's unsavory actions.

    Adrien-related plots 
  • Adrien may be presented as having Skewed Priorities, placing the idea of maintaining an illusion of harmony in their classroom over revealing the truth. He may also take a Holier Than Thou attitude towards Marinette, scolding her for wanting to expose Lila.
    • If Adrien is not seemingly oblivious to how Marinette is being singled out, he may tell her that it's her own fault: that Lila's lies weren't hurting anyone before, and that she deserves to be hurt for persisting in trying to expose her.
    • Another common reason for Adrien to balk at trying to expose Lila is that he fears nobody will believe him either. Depending on the Writer, this may be treated as a sympathetic reason for his hesitance, or used to paint him as a Dirty Coward, willing to let Marinette suffer alone rather than standing beside her.
    • Fear of Lila being akumatized is another frequent excuse. He may also express some concern about her victims getting akumatized if they learn the Awful Truth; however, that hinges on him considering their feelings in the first place, which isn't always the case. Either way, he fails to factor in how much worse they're likely to feel the longer things go on before her exposure.
    • Whether he's concerned about Lila and/or their classmates getting akumatized due to a reveal or not, Adrien almost never considers the possibility of Marinette being akumatized instead. Plagg pointing this out to him practically always gets dismissed, with Adrien insisting that she is too strong to let that get to her.
  • His desire to avoid exposing Lila is commonly combined with his defending Chloé, pointing out how in both cases, he seems keen to ignore the harm they have done/are doing and blame the victims instead.
  • Plagg often gets to call him out, sarcastically snarking at any confusion Adrien expresses over Marinette growing distant or otherwise treating him differently, and pointing out that it's hardly surprising for her feelings to change after he claimed to have her back, only to abandon her.
  • Adrien may be portrayed as Not So Different from Chloé or Lila by virtue of having a very self-centered attitude. Or from his father, in that while Gabriel is a Control Freak who micromanages his son's life, Adrien attempts to compensate for this by making his school and superhero lives go precisely the way he wants them. And if that means throwing Marinette to the wolves or forcing Ladybug to accept his affections, then so be it.
  • A frequent consequence of his inaction is that Adrien finds that others support the idea of him getting together with Lila. This usually includes Alya (switching gears from helping Marinette to her new, "better" friend), Nino, or his own father — with Gabriel naturally having the most ability to force the issue, as well as ulterior motives for shoving them together. Unsurprisingly, this tends to make Adrien more keen on abandoning the "high road" and exposing her.
  • Marinette's crush often gets revealed to him. Alya is frequently responsible for this, exposing her former friend's feelings in order to openly accuse her of only disliking Lila because she's jealous of her being closer to Adrien, paint her as a Stalker with a Crush, or just generally humiliate her.
    • This can trigger a moment of revelation for Adrien. Whether or not this comes in time for him to atone and salvage any potential relationship depends upon the writer.
    • Adrien may also respond by rejecting Marinette. This can go hand-in-hand with her being "exposed" as a Stalker with a Crush, or can fold into the Holier Than Thou route, with Adrien declaring that she's been too mean in her efforts to expose Lila.
  • Despite being aware of Lila's true nature, Adrien may end up buying into some of her lies anyway. Especially if accepting those claims as true allows him to dodge responsibility and blame someone else for his problems.
  • His "do nothing and don't warn anyone else" approach tends to bite him in the butt once others learn about it, with them calling him out for not letting them know. Nino often gets the honors of doing so, by virtue of being Adrien's best friend.
    • This often leads to Adrien finding himself rejected and isolated by his angry classmates, with their friendships being severely strained or broken off entirely. It's often pointed out that it's easier for them to blame him for everything than acknowledge their own fault in the matter.
  • If Adrien isn't getting presented in a bad light, then he usually has a My God, What Have I Done? moment very early on and strives to make amends, apologizing profusely to Marinette for giving her such poor advice.
    • One popular method of revelation has Marinette confide in Chat Noir about her recent troubles. Upon learning the full extent of Lila's cruelty, he's typically quick to counter his own advice, directly calling out his civilian counterpart as wrong.
    • Alternately, an allied Adrien and Marinette will decide they're Better as Friends, with Adrien hooking up with Kagami, Luka, or someone else.

    Chat Noir-related plots 
A common topic for non-Lila-related Salt Fics (and even a few Lila-related ones) is addressing Adrien's entitled behavior as Chat Noir. Frequent points involved in such stories include:
  • Adrien commonly insists that they are meant to be together Because Destiny Says So. That because the Ladybug and Black Cat Miraculous are a matched set, their holders are fated to be lovers, regardless of her feelings on the matter.
  • The Moral Myopia inherit in Adrien failing to recognize that he annoys Ladybug as much as his own unwanted admirers bother him is frequently pointed out. More sympathetic takes fold this into his Jerkass Realization, while less generous ones have him staunchly insist that it's completely different, due to his firm belief that they're destined lovers... or simply because he's the one who wants this.
  • Much like the above, expect Chat Salt to highlight how he complains about Ladybug not treating him like a real partner, and how he's much guiltier of all the things he accuses her of. Especially when it comes to "not listening". If she's not telling him whatever he wants to hear, he'll blow her off without a second thought, while accusing her of disregarding whatever he's got to say.
    • Her "keeping secrets" tends to be a sticking point as well. Never mind all the valid reasons for doing so, or the fact that he keeps secrets as well — ones that aren't related to protecting the Miraculous and their secret identities, like his lies in "Copycat".
  • Chat refusing to help against akuma unless Ladybug "admits" that she loves him/agrees to a Relationship Upgrade. This often leads to another hero being brought into the fray. Somehow, Chat rarely, if ever, considered that as a potential outcome.
  • Chat getting jealous of other heroes, especially if they happen to be male or he otherwise sees them as a threat to his relationship with Ladybug. Often combines with the above — the hero is chosen and/or made permanent in response to him proving himself unreliable, and he blames them for this.
  • His threat to quit during "Syren" can backfire. If he doesn't lose the ring in that moment, this usually sees him getting called out on his Skewed Priorities.
  • Ladybug learning about how he lied about how Theo was akumatized in "Copycat", and that he was responsible for causing it rather than her.
  • If his Secret Identity is revealed, Marinette is often dismayed, disgusted or horrified to realize that she was Loving a Shadow, and that the boy she fawned after was so pushy and refused to take "no" for an answer. (This is frequently coupled with a Heel Realization about her own stalkery behavior, if she hasn't already had one and dialed it back/given up on her crush.)
    • On the flip side, such Salt Fics often treat Adrien learning her Secret Identity as his main (or only) reason for taking any interest in her. This is commonly accompanied by an Unrequited Love Switcheroo, with Marinette having fallen out of love with him after taking a harder look at his behavior.
    • If the above happens as a mutual reveal, Adrien is almost always ecstatic, openly declaring that there's now nothing in the way of them getting together. He doesn't understand Marinette's horrified reaction, or why she would reject him after learning the truth; isn't this just proof of their destiny?
    • Should Adrien learn Ladybug's identity without her realizing, he may go for an immediate reveal, or keep that knowledge to himself while pursuing Marinette. This can involve him becoming a Stalker with a Crush, using his capabilities as Chat Noir to keep a closer eye on her without her knowledge.
  • Some stories have Adrien mistakenly believe that somebody else is Ladybug, such as Kagami, and pursue a relationship with them as a result. Ladybug/Marinette is never pleased to learn about this, taking it as proof that he only "loves" Ladybug and not the girl behind the mask.
  • Chat's tendency to joke around and not take akuma attacks quite as seriously as his partner does tends to be cast into a harsher light as well, showing that he expects Ladybug to pick up his slack and save the day.
    • The amount of times that he sacrifices himself may be deconstructed. Rather than treated as always necessary or "romantic", it can be pointed out that some of said sacrifices could have been avoided or are otherwise senseless, placing even more pressure upon Ladybug to win without her partner as backup. It's also often highlighted that seeing her partner die, temporarily or not, is likely to be quite traumatic... all the more so with the knowledge that if she doesn't win/can't use her World-Healing Wave, he and everyone else will be gone for good.
    • Chat frequently treats the existence of her World-Healing Wave as a way to excuse his joking around and focus on flirting over fighting. After all, what does it matter if he makes a few missteps here or there if Ladybug's always going to carry the day and restore everything back to normal with a swarm of magical ladybugs? The notion that this only restores the physical damage and doesn't erase the memory or other consequences of his actions is generally lost upon him until it's too late.
  • Plagg normally tries to curtail and call out Adrien's behavior. It's rare for Adrien to pay his warnings any mind.
  • Should he lose the ring — which is a very common outcome — Adrien is typically very slow to recognize how his own actions led to this. The first words out of his mouth are almost always about how being Chat Noir is his only source of freedom, begging for another chance.
    • Master Fu frequently expresses regret over selecting him in the first place. He may apologize to Adrien, being sincerely remorseful about taking away his outlet, but also holding firm that he has proven himself unworthy, and that his sympathy for his situation blinded him to that. He almost certainly apologizes to Marinette for not acting sooner.
    • Adrien almost always gets akumatized in the wake of losing the Ring. This may come immediately, or after seeing that a new Cat has been chosen, driving home for him the unlikeliness of ever getting it back.
    • If Adrien ever realizes the error of his ways, it's generally a bittersweet affair: he won't ever become Chat Noir again, but at least has the ability to work on his issues and become a better person, potentially repairing his relationships to some extent in the process.
  • Gabriel normally finds out that his son was Chat Noir after he has lost the Ring. While this may leave him somewhat shaken, he normally ignores any epiphanies that might spring from that, blaming his son for unknowingly getting in his way in the first place. He's also naturally annoyed at not realizing this sooner, as it would have made securing the Ring much easier.
  • Some stories have Chat Noir betray Ladybug in order to make a wish with the Earrings and Ring, creating an Alternate Universe where his family is intact while somebody else's happiness is sacrificed. Tikki and Plagg typically have Ripple-Proof Memory in such tales, and are understandably furious with his selfishness.
    • Adrien usually expects to have the relationship he dreamed about with "his Lady" in the new reality. If he's the one making the wish rather than his father, having her love him may be included in the wish itself; however, it's just as likely that he assumes she'll fall for him, simply because he's convinced that they're destined to be together.
    • Once the new reality turns out to be less than the perfection he anticipated, Adrien typically wants to try and fix things with another wish, showing that he's learned absolutely nothing from the whole experience.

    Chloé-related plots 
Chloé stands in an interesting position. While there is a high chance of her being one of Marinette's allies, she may also go unredeemed, with the writer taking her to task for all of her unpleasant actions in Canon.
  • A redeemed Chloé often switches narrative positions with Alya, becoming Marinette's best friend (or at least her closest friend among Bustier's students), while Alya serves as Lila's Draconic bestie and a massive bully.
  • Unlike her Canon counterpart, she generally regrets her actions... but only to a point. When it comes to how she treated her classmates, she typically refuses to apologize or take any steps to make amends with them until and unless they recognize the error of their own ways. She's not interested in making nice with Hypocrites.
    • Making amends with those she wronged who aren't wronging her and/or Marinette is another matter entirely, and is commonly used to show that she's dedicated to changing her ways.
    • Mme. Bustier may suddenly be willing to punish her for "misbehaving" in class — which more often than not means "defending Marinette from Lila, Alya and anyone else trying to bully her".
  • She tends towards Reformed, but Not Tamed, using her skills as a Lovable Alpha Bitch to help Marinette out. This often includes using her family's money and influence to the benefit of her newfound friends.
    • This can be coupled with Bad Guys Do the Dirty Work, with a heroic/neutral Chloé dealing with Lila herself through judicious use of said resources and cunning.
    • Chloé also often takes it upon herself to teach Marinette how to be "mean". This generally means being more assertive when dealing with their classmates/her former friends; Depending on the Writer, however, this can entail Marinette becoming a queen bee herself.
  • A common justification that crops up whenever Alya or one of Marinette's former friends points out her past as an Alpha Bitch is that Marinette was used to dealing with her attitude. They, on the other hand, were supposed to be trustworthy, only to stab her in the back once Lila returned. Chloé also frequently counters by noting that she's gotten better, whereas they have gotten worse/show no signs of wanting to change or atone for their own bad behavior.
  • She's commonly noted to have started doing her own schoolwork rather than pawning it off on Sabrina or somebody else. Expect her to express frustration over having to spend her own time and effort on homework, but stick to it as another sign of her dedication to self-improvement.
  • The obvious issue with her being publicly known as Queen Bee is usually handled by either A) Having her switch to another Miraculous; B) Having her alter her appearance and take a new name, becoming a "new" Bee Heroine for the sake of upholding the masquerade; or C) Not bringing up the issue at all.
  • Sabrina may or may not join her as part of Marinette's new friend group. If not, Chloé is usually shown to miss having her around, and sincerely upset at seeing her still under Lila's sway.

  • If Chloé hasn't become one of Marinette's allies, she and Sabrina are usually made the neutral faction in the conflict, usually because Chloé hates both sides equally.
    • It's also not unusual for a neutral/ally Chloé to give a "The Reason You Suck" Speech where she gleefully upbraids her classmates for turning so easily upon their "Everyday Ladybug". This usually happens right after The Reveal, though it may come beforehand... and lead to an I Warned You moment after Lila is exposed.

  • An unredeemed Chloé usually doesn't work directly with Lila, seeing her as a threat to her own status as the class's reigning Alpha Bitch. She simply continues to act the same way she always has, stewing over being 'usurped' and lashing out at anyone unfortunate enough to cross her path.
    • She also might be brought down as a side note, with the main focus of the story being on Lila's downfall and Chloé getting her karmic punishment as a natural effect of the situation in Mme. Bustier's class/at their school coming under closer scrutiny.
  • As with sodium-laced Alya and Adrien/Chat Noir, she commonly displays a Never My Fault attitude towards her actions, refusing to acknowledge that she's done anything wrong or that her actions should have consequences.
  • Such fics usually point out the fact that her attempt at Engineered Heroics during her debut as Queen Bee could have gotten a lot of people killed. Including Marinette and her parents.
    • That last point is commonly used to blindside Adrien/Chat Noir, making the situation more personal by causing him to realize that people he knows could have died. He may get called out on the notion that he needed that personal touch to start caring about her potential victims.
  • Her father often loses influence as a direct result of her actions, due to public outcry over her behavior as Queen Bee or her betrayal of Ladybug and the other heroes during the Season 3 finale being publicly exposed. He may step down or be booted out of his office entirely.

    Mme. Bustier-related plots 
  • Mme. Bustier's teaching methods often end up Deconstructed (pointing out that they let the bad students get off scot-free for their actions and made her class a fertile breeding ground for akumas), and she'll often lose her Cool Teacher status among students who know what's going on.
  • She may be depicted as hopelessly naive, sincerely believing that her methods are helping bullies like Chloé change for the better.
    • Alternately, Mme. Bustier may be more aware of what's going on than than she acts, and opts not to intervene because she's used to shunting the responsibility of solving problems onto "the Marinettes of the world".
    • It may be specifically stated that the real reason she avoids punishing Chloé is because she doesn't want to risk her father's wrath (or that of Principal Damocles). Same goes for Adrien, thanks to Gabriel. Lila can be lumped into this; even if her mother isn't the sort to abuse her power, Bustier would rather err on the side of caution. Marinette suffers because her parents aren't seen as anyone important enough to avoid crossing. (Bustier having this mentality is usually combined with the Dupain-Chengs being protective parents and helping to bring her down.)
    • She may also be a former Alpha Bitch who believes herself to be a Reformed Bully, dismissing the notion that her actions had any sort of long-term impact. This justifies her preferential treatment of Chloé by having her see a lot of herself in the blonde.
  • Bustier can display a lot of Pride in her supposed reputation, feigning modesty while parading her accolades around, or citing it as justification for her actions — or inaction.
    • Her reputation among her peers is often revealed to be spottier than she thinks it is. Chances are high that she's dismissed any attempts to discuss the downsides of her methods as poor attempts to hide their envy.
  • It's not unusual for Mme. Bustier to engage in the bullying herself. For instance, if her students want to exclude Marinette (and any of her allies) from school trips, Bustier will allow this without batting a lash. If Marinette is framed for anything, Bustier will often confront her in front of the whole class, humiliating her.
    • Selective Enforcement is key here. Bustier goes from useless to actively working against Marinette, declaring that she's disappointed in her for being so "disruptive".
    • On a related note, Bustier tends to be depicted as trying to enforce her authority in circumstances where she has none at all, creating a bitterly ironic contrast with her reluctance to use it during other, more appropriate situations.
  • Mme. Mendeleiev is often presented as a much better teacher who refuses to permit any bullying or bad behavior. If Marinette and her friends don't transfer to a different school, it's not unusual for them to migrate to Mendeleiev's class instead. Mendeleiev also often gets to lecture her fellow educator about her methods, frequently noting that she warned her about this before.
  • In the most extreme cases, this leads to Bustier losing her job, even finding herself blacklisted. Principal Damocles may or may not go down alongside her. If so, Mendeleiev usually steps up to fill the now-vacant position, or a new teacher and/or principal is brought in, and immediately shown to take their duties much more seriously.
    • If Lila is still present/hasn't been exposed yet, expect the new teacher/principal to comment on her lack of any doctor's notes for her claimed conditions, often specifically citing the notion that Mme. Bustier should have ensured that herself.

    Non-character specific plots 
  • Marinette being forced to try to weather the harsh environment Lila's sociopathic manipulations and her gullible peers end up creating for her, with her 100% Adoration Rating being unfairly put into question.
    • Lila may cement the rift by painting Marinette as a Secretly Selfish Bitch in Sheep's Clothing — in other words, making her out to be everything that Lila actually is. Sometimes, Lila actually believes this herself: that everyone else is just like her, whether they admit it to themselves or not.
    • Alternately, some stories have Lila doing very little, with her followers turning on Marinette and ratcheting up the bullying effectively of their own accord, without her encouraging it. This is especially common in stories which paint the classmates as wanting to get in good with Lila so that she'll use her supposed connections to help them out. In other words, they're Secretly Selfish opportunists themselves.
    • Alya, Kim, and Alix tend to be singled out as the students most likely to initiate the worst bullying, as well as the ones most likely to be named as enjoying it. If the bullying requires anything physical, such as tripping or shouldering her around, it's usually one of those three who's the culprit, and they're the most openly gleefully when it comes to things like destroying her property.
    • The rest tend to be painted as complicit through their silence; potentially uncomfortable with what's happening, but choosing not to speak up against it. Alternately, they prefer more passive-aggressive techniques like ignoring Marinette, effectively acting like she doesn't exist/isn't worth their time or attention.
  • The people on Marinette's side vary, but usually consist of Luka, Kagami, Chloé, and even Aurore.
    • Felix is another popular choice, specifically the PV version or common fan interpretations thereof. His appearance in Season 3 as Adrien's Jerkass cousin has done little to impede this.
    • Another option is to have a new character, either an OC or a crossover character, come in and help fight against Lila (romance with Marinette optional). The Maribat AU is a well-known example of the latter variant.
    • Jagged Stone and his assistant Penny are popular candidates to get involved, thanks to Marinette being well acquainted with them and Lila's especially audacious claims about "saving his kitten". He's frequently depicted as an Honorary Uncle who's utterly furious to learn about Mari being bullied; that said, it's not unusual for him to unknowingly shred Lila's claims by simply answering honestly when somebody asks him about them.
    • Nino is the most likely of the main characters to have an eventual Heel Realization and go back to Marinette's side, which usually ends with him breaking up with Alya.
    • Kitty Section may or may not be saved by association with Luka. If not, Lila typically convinces them to kick Luka out of the group, claiming that it's strange for a guy his age to associate with teenagers (despite one of the other members being his own sister), either to attempt to set herself up as their newest member, or simply because she can. Should Luka get booted, expect him to find success as a solo artist while Kitty Section struggles.
    • Sabine and Tom may be depicted as Good Parents who support and trust Marinette... or, in angstier fare, more flawed and less helpful. They may be completely taken in by Lila, refusing to believe their own daughter and handing down unfair punishments, even disowning their daughter — which usually leads to someone else stepping in to become a superior parental figure in their stead.
    • Master Fu is in a similar position. While he's often a source of guidance and advice, some stories have him prove less than helpful, failing to recognize how he's adding to the stress and responsibility being piled on Marinette's shoulders. This may even entail him taking Chat's side, showing a sexist streak towards Ladybug and advising her to cater to her partner's whims. Such stories typically have him get stripped of his Guardian role by Tikki, Plagg, and/or the other kwamis, with Marinette or another ally taking over that duty.
    • While Tikki is obviously one of her allies, she typically gets at least one scene where she apologizes to Marinette for being too harsh, realizing that she was holding her to impossibly high standards and adding to the pressure she's been under.
  • Marinette getting akumatized due to Lila. Getting Marinette akumatized was already a popular plot beforehand, but her near-akumatizations in "Chameleon" and "Ladybug" (both because of Lila) only made it even more popular.
  • Marinette drifting away from her old friends due to Lila and making a new group of friends (generally the members of Kitty Section, the students in Mme. Mendeliev's homeroom class, characters from the show's original concept, or original characters).
  • Marinette choosing to transfer schools due to the bullying, which is often combined with the "new group of friends" plot.
  • Naturally, any classmates who have served as temporary heroes (or were chosen as such after "Chameleon") typically don't get their Miraculous again (or ever, in the latter cases). This leads to a new roster of heroes, which may or may not include Queen Bee and/or Chat Noir being replaced, depending on how Chloé and Adrien are being handled.
    • Their kwami are frequently noted to be disappointed by their former bearers' actions, and rarely have any issues with their new partners. More often than not, they quickly bond with the newbies, encouraging them to see themselves as superior successors.
    • Some stories have one (or more) of the kwami sneak out and confront their former holder directly, calling them out on their behavior. Trixx is a common choice for this sort of plot.
  • Redesigning Ladybug's outfit is a pretty popular way to underscore her growth, with Marinette applying her skill as a fashion designer to give her super suit more protection and personality.
    • This might also be applied to her everyday casual wear, which almost always involves her ditching her pigtails.
  • Marinette becomes famous through some means (usually becoming a popular fashion designer, though other variants include becoming a pop star or being related to/dating someone famous) after she gets ostracized. Inevitably, Alya demands to know why Marinette never told her despite them being friends, and Marinette usually gives a response along the lines of "I told my real friends, and you're not one of them".
    • Additionally, Marinette's friends realizing that they lost the chance to potentially meet their idols (who have now become acquainted with Marinette thanks to her fame), and Marinette knowing this and subtly rubbing it in as a part of her revenge.
  • Speaking of lost chances, some salt fics have a classmate pass up a valuable opportunity because they're convinced Lila will help them score something bigger. Typically, said opportunity involves a contest, competition, or applying for an internship, and they believe Lila's influence will effectively land them whatever they want without them really having to work for it. Especially if a potential internship is involved — why make an honest bid for that slot when she's got an "in" that supposedly guarantees they'll get what they want? By the time they realize otherwise, it's too late: the window for that actual opportunity has closed while Lila was busy giving them the runaround.
  • Easily Forgiven is frequently Averted, with Marinette deciding that she won't immediately accept her classmates' apologies after Lila's exposure. Her willingness to do so generally hinges on how genuinely contrite they act; if anyone acts entitled to being immediately forgiven, that's commonly a sign that their relationship will not be repaired anytime soon.
    • Alya tends to be the most likely to take offense, insisting that she and Marinette are still "best friends"... regardless of how badly she neglected, ignored, or turned upon her.
    • Adrien commonly responds to this by telling Marinette that he's disappointed in her for not letting bygones be bygones. She usually fires back, calling him out for not really having her back despite knowing the truth about Lila. If this happens in front of others, it often doubles as an unpleasant Internal Reveal for the witnesses.
    • Should Lila be around to witness Marinette rejecting their attempt at mass reconciliation, she typically smirks and sneers about it, drawing pleasure from the knowledge that she's not the only one being blamed or punished for their actions.
  • A common trend is for the class to collectively cross the Moral Event Horizon by tearing up Marinette's sketchbook, which is often the catalyst for several of the above plots to occur. At least one story takes it a step further by showing that property destruction is a line Lila won't cross, and she actively works to prevent it.
  • Marinette getting kicked out of her position as the Class Representative (usually replaced by Alya or Lila), only for the class to realize that she was the best one they had due to her organization skills and subsequently undergoing a Humiliation Conga. Losing the role is often a devastating blow for Marinette, though at least one prompt has her immediately realizing that they just took a load of weight off of her shoulders and happily surrendering the role.
  • Ms. Bustier's class going on a trip is a popular subject for Salt Fics.
    • Said trip can be used as grounds for a Crossover, and/or for Marinette finding allies outside of her classmates. For bonus points, Lila may claim to be secretly dating a potential Love Interest local to the area, who naturally ends up falling for Marinette instead.
    • Another common variation is Marinette getting excluded from the school trip, frequently being informed of this well beforehand. She responds by refusing to help with the fundraising, often devoting her effort towards making her own plans for how to spend that vacation period. Whatever her classmates end up doing, her trip turns out to be far more impressive.
  • Related to all of the above: Marinette stops being their "Everyday Ladybug" and doing everyone favors. This is commonly met with confusion, as they have grown so used to having her help that they expect it to continue, even in cases where they've started actively bullying and belittling her.
    • The question of payment — of how much the things Marinette does for them would cost if she was being properly commissioned — gets brought up fairly often. In such scenarios, Marinette tends to declare that any future projects they wish for her to work on require them to hire her, as she refuses to provide any more freebies. Good classmates may be set apart from the rest by revealing that they were already paying her properly, or by having them agree without argument, showing that they value her time and talent more than others.
    • Conversely, in order to drive home how awful and ungrateful some of her former friends are, it may come out that they effectively forced Marinette to do those "favors" for free in the first place, coming to her whining, offering sob stories, and refusing to entertain even the notion of recompensing her.
    • Tom and Sabine also commonly cut off the classmates, informing them that they no longer qualify for the "Friends and Family" discount at their bakery, and often kicking them out of the building outright.
  • Ms. Bustier's class often has a reputation for being "the akuma class", due to the sheer amount of akuma spawned from its roster. This is commonly used to render the whole class (sans Marinette and any of her allies) as socially isolated, with their peers aware of their reputation and wary of getting involved with them, for fear of being dragged into any incidents.
    • Salt Fic can underscore this further by having it go both ways, with Bustier's students ignoring or outright shunning "outsiders" and sticking to their preferred, insular social groups. This is often combined with them latching onto the notion that Lila's support is all they'll need to get ahead in life, only to learn otherwise.
  • No matter what, Marinette always gets a happy ending in Salt fics. Exactly how happy it is often depends on the writer, with the more extreme variants essentially turning her into a Possession Sue who's loved by everyone. In other words, giving her precisely the sort of life Lila claimed to have. The irony of this is usually remarked upon.

Other Frequent Fanfic Plots

    Other Frequent Fanfic Plots 
  • A common fanfic plot involves either Marinette/Ladybug or Adrien/Chat Noir getting akumatized. In the latter case, his akumatized form is almost always a Palette Swap of Chat Noir named Chat Blanc (which eventually became a case of Ascended Fanon), and in the former case (as of season 3), it's almost always due to something relating to Lila.
    • As of "Ladybug", fans now have a potential name for an akumatized Marinette: Princess Justice. However, as the form was never shown, only named, they can still go wild designing it.
  • Thanks to a brief scene in "Stormy Weather" in which Marinette describes her plans for a potential future with Adrien, future fics that involve them forming a family always give them children named Emma, Louis and Hugo.
  • Felix, Marinette's prototypical Love Interest prior to being replaced, being Adrien's elder brother. For what it's worth, when he shows up, they downplay his cold and jerkish tendencies to be a somewhat nicer brother. To go along with that, the beta version of Marinette, who fans have decided to nickname "Bridgette" for mostly unknown reasons, also pops up in this kind of fanon, more often than not as Marinette's sister. Or to use those names for Alternate Universe versions of Adrien and Marinette. As of season 3, Felix is finally being brought into the show as Adrien's cousin - however the fact that, as Astruc's Creator's Pest, he gets a hefty dose of Adaptaional Villainy (read "sociopathic Hate Sink/Lila's Distaff Counterpart"), stories written after the episode in which he isn't a villain need some amount of Fanon Discontinuity.
    • Bringing in versions of the other prototype heroes (Mercury, Melodie, Sparrow, and Kid Mime) is also a popular plot in fanfics, to the point there are widely-accepted civilian names for them (Mercury is Allan, Melodie is Allegra, and Kid Mime is Claude). So far, Sparrow has appeared in the comics as Knightowl's sidekick, but none of the others have appeared yet in any form.
  • Stories involving one or more of the remaining Miraculouses being given to new holders. Typical candidates include Nino becoming the holder of the Turtle Miraculous (usually being mentored by a retiring Master Fu, and also the ultimate canon outcome), Chloé getting the Bee Miraculous (also canon), and the Fox Miraculous going to Lila, Nathanael or Alya (also canon). The Peacock Miraculous doesn't show up as often (due to it currently being in the hands of Gabriel Agreste) and has become more of a wildcard, though Alya has received it in a few fics (usually written before the announcement of her becoming the Fox holder), and Nathalie is becoming a popular choice (one which was also ultimately canonized). There are also a number of AU fics where the Ladybug and/or Black Cat Miraculouses go to different people and Marinette and/or Adrien get different ones - Ladybug!Adrien and Chat Noir!Marinette is especially common.
  • After the twelve Chinese zodiac-based Miraculouses were revealed, people started creating fanfics and AUs where these get granted to various members of Marinette and Adrien's class. This is slowly becoming canon – Alix (well, a future version of her) got the Bunny Miraculous in "Timetagger", while Kim and Max got the Monkey and Horse, respectively, in "Party Crasher".
    • After the introductions of Luka and Kagami, people have also been lumping them into this plot in some way or another. Usually, Kagami ends up getting the Dragon Miraculous (which ended up being confirmed on Thomas Astruc's Instagram), while Luka's varies from story to story, though fics that give him the Snake Miraculous began rising in popularity after he ended up getting it in canon.
  • Identity Reveal fics, wherein Marinette and Adrien learn each other's identities, either together or separately, almost always leading to a Relationship Upgrade. It's likely got to the point that if the reveal does happen in canon, it will be hard to come up with a scenario that hasn't been done.
    • As of "Cat Blanc" it has been done in canon and undone when Gabriel's villainy leads to disaster. Since then, some reveal fics have had the couple be more careful and only show affection in secret.
  • Stories in which Adrien and Marinette have learnt each other's true identities and are publicly dating/married in their civilian personae (being publicly involved in their Miraculous identities optional), only to be caught making out while one of them is transformed (i.e. Adrien is caught kissing Ladybug, or Marinette kissing Cat Noir).
  • Stories involving the heroes being forced to separate in the aftermath of Hawk Moth's defeat without getting to reveal their identities, before being brought back together years later. This can be played in a number of ways depending on whether or not the two still have their Miraculous, or whether or not Gabriel Agreste is Hawk Moth.
  • AU stories which don't involve superheroics but do find other reasons for Marinette and Adrien to adopt aliases and sometimes costumes, thus preserving the Love Square. Especially common are the two becoming texting buddies resulting from a wrong number.
  • Adrien being lonely during the holidays (usually Christmas, but his birthday is common too) due to his father being busy, and bonding with Marinette due to her efforts to cheer him up is common enough.
  • In fics featuring Adrien and Marinette's kids, it is common for them to try and use Tikki and Plagg as chew toys. Or for the kwamis to mention it was common with past heroes.
  • There are fics where the entirety of Miss Bustier's class will watch their own show. Of course, this would result in them finding out who Ladybug and Chat Noir are. Additional characters such as Marinette's parents, Nadja Chamack, and even Gabriel Agreste can join in watching the show.
  • Chat Noir joining forces with Hawk Moth to get Ladybug's Miraculous, upon learning his true identity.
  • In a similar vein, Chat Noir going crazy, becoming a mad vigilante who attacks civilians and/or criminals (unhealthy obsession with Marinette optional).
  • When a fic has Marinette and Adrien hooking up while still at school, it often turns out the whole class was betting on when it will happen. Sometimes Mari's parents are in as well.
  • Aged-up fics tend to have Marinette working at Gabriel's company, often being groomed as his successor.
  • Fics where everyone has one destined soulmate, and there is some magical way of finding/recognizing your soulmate. Marinette/Ladybug and Chat/Adrien will always be soulmates, but it's not uncommon for each of them to have two separate iterations of whatever that particular fic's Red String of Fate is, one for their partner's civilian identity and one for their heroic identity. Another popular twist is to have Marinette's Red String of Fate trigger on Chat Noir, and Chat's trigger on Marinette, leading them to have to deal with (apparently) being in love with someone other than their bonded soulmate.
  • If you're reading a crossover fic between Miraculous Ladybug and...well, anything, there's a high chance that one of the non-Miraculous Ladybug characters will end up akumatized.
  • In stories where Marinette has to leave Paris for some reason or another while Hawk Moth is still an active threat, she'll usually bring Kaalki with her so she can continue to fight akumas that pop up in her home.


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